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I bought an Ibanez AS73, and then returned it


This guitar had issues.

I bought my Ibanez from a very reputable seller who shall remain nameless because what happened with this guitar wasn't their fault at all. There were two issues with this guitar, one of which was Ibanez's fault, and the other having to do with my fret hand (left hand).

I said recently that of the guitars I've not owned yet, I wanted an ES-335. The Ibanez AS73 is really close to that, as it is a true semi-hollow, and the size of it is slightly smaller than the ES-335 but still larger than the ES-339. Or said another way, where the body size is concerned, the AS73 would be in that "just right" size for many players. I had no problem with that.

The sound of the guitar was good. Not great. Just good. The AS73 comes loaded with Ibanez Classic Elite humbuckers, which have a ceramic magnet type instead of alnico. In a semi-hollow application, I found these did work well.

Overall feel of the guitar was good, the nut was cut correct, tuner action was nice. I was very surprised to find it had absolutely no neck dive when playing it standing. All the control knobs have rubber rings on them, making adjustments ridiculously easy. The knobs definitely qualify as some of the best I've ever used. Pickup selector toggle also felt great.

The look of the guitar was fantastic. It's just a gorgeous instrument.

However, there were two things that were deal breakers for this guitar.

First, a factory flaw. On the guitar I received, the binding on the inner curve of the top horn wasn't done right:


The "smudged" part of the binding is literally under the urethane sealant, and there was absolutely no way to fix this.

Had this been on the bottom horn, then it could have been something I could deal with. But every single time I picked up the guitar to play it, that "smudge" was staring me right in the face.

I can understand the seller not seeing this before selling me the guitar, because it's small and something you don't notice at a passing glance. But once you see that flaw, you can't unsee it. And knowing there's no way to fix it makes it even worse. This isn't something a quick buffing will make look right again. That flaw is there forever. Quite unfortunate.

Second, a neck shape issue.

I've gone into detail before about how I can't stand thin necks. Well, there's a funny thing about the AS73. Its neck is certainly thicker but still too thin at the same time.

The official measurements of the AS73 is a 21mm (0.83") depth at the 1st fret and 24mm (0.94") at the 9th fret. By the numbers, this neck has some chunk to it, and I had looked up the measurements before I bought the guitar, so I knew what I was getting.

What I didn't (and couldn't) know before getting the guitar is that while the neck depth is fine, the neck shoulder drops off early and feels thin, almost like a soft V shape.

The end result of this is that the neck just felt wrong. Or to be more accurate, it felt wrong for me. Many guitar players like the AS73 neck, as it is the same neck used on the upper tier model AS93.

Bad neck? No, it's a great neck and I was able to set up the action exactly how I like it. But that lack of shoulder just didn't feel right at all.

In the end, the combination of a factory binding flaw that could never be fixed along with an odd-feeling neck was enough of a deal breaker, and I sent the guitar back for a refund.

This is a shame considering how great the guitar looks, but sometimes looks aren't enough.

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